Carmel Valley student shines in recent ‘Guys and Dolls’ production at Balboa Park

By Rob LeDonne

It makes perfect sense that Benjamin Sutton, a resident of Del Mar who will be attending Canyon Crest Academy as a senior this fall, is pursuing acting once you hear what his parents do.

“My dad is a tap dancer and my mother majored in violin,” he said during a break in his busy schedule. “They were also in a bluegrass band, so I was always in an artistic atmosphere. I started taking acting classes when I was 7.”

Since then, Sutton’s talent and passion have taken him a long way. He’s been in countless productions around the San Diego area, and just wrapped up a three-week stint in the San Diego Junior Theatre’s production of “Guys and Dolls.” Naturally, Sutton nabbed a lead role, that of Nicely-Nicely Johnson. The “Guys and Dolls” production was performed at the Casa del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park.

“I never really knew of the musical beforehand,” he notes. “But I’m such a huge fan of Frank Sinatra (who starred in the 1955 film version of the musical). I had a blast learning all of the songs.”

Ironically, his role also called for tap dancing, something his father helped him out with.

“I also took some tap-dancing classes as well. When we first started rehearsing, it was a little slow at first since a lot of people were gone over the summer. By the time we had tech week, everything went really great. We got it together.”

Normally he would star in “straight plays and not musicals,” so “Guys and Dolls” was something of a departure for the young actor who remembers his first role fondly.

“It was super nerve wracking to audition for my first thing (a San Diego Junior Theater production of ‘Junie B. Jones’). When I got the part and became an ensemble member, it was one of the most fun experiences of my life.”

Sutton explained that aside from the experience of acting, it’s his bond with his castmates that he cherishes the most.

“At Canyon Crest, in December 2010, we did ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee.’ It was a really small cast and we all got very close. Aside from how great that performance went, it was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in the theater,” Sutton said.

In addition, he’s also working on remaining humble throughout his successes.

“A lot of people I know are involved in the theater, but my friends who aren’t always support me and come to my shows,” Sutton said. “People will ask me about acting, although I like to keep things low key.”

For his upcoming senior year at Canyon Crest, Sutton is looking forward to acting as well.

“I know I’m going to be dedicated to it all year. I’ll [be working at it] every day.”

As for life after high school, he’s still not sure what his next move is going to be.

“I’m going go to college either for theater or film acting, but I’m not sure where yet. I’m about to fill out some applications now. It’s stressful, but it’s my passion.”

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